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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  December 13, 2013 4:00pm-6:01pm EST

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and not based upon the new law. >> the gentleman's time is expired. we will recognize the gentleman from maryland, mr. starbase. >> thank you for -- sarbanes. >> thank you for being here. you have been very stoic. you have accepted responsibility in the failure of the website. you have been aggressive in trying to improve the situation. the evidence you presented today suggests that things are on the mend. more americans are able to access the government website, which is the portal to affordable health care. i think if you step back, the bigger story here is there were previously millions of americans who were essentially trapped in a world where they could not access health care. there was literally no options
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available to them. if they had pre-existing conditions, even the substandard plan that was offered on the individual market often did not provide any option for them. they did not even have the opportunity to complain or face the challenges that now some of them are facing. but the fact that they are trying to access an option of affordable care and, yes encountering some difficulties and having to push through those, etc., even that is progress because before, they did not even have that. it is important for us to keep that in perspective. that is why i think you said earlier -- i heard someone say maybe it was chairman waxman that one of the common emotional
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responses for people when they actually can enroll is that they break down in tears. because their years of pent-up frustration at not being able to access affordable care. >> we know that in the individual market, which is the market that the new marketplaces are addressing, a large number of national studies show that it could be as many as 25% of people who try to buy a plan were turned down totally. no plan at no price. then you have people who were individually medically underwritten, virtually everyone in the marketplace. that is beneficial if you are healthy and don't have any likelihood of a pre-existing condition. typically if you are male. if not, it is not beneficial. if you get sick along the way or if you are diagnosed, you could
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be medically underwritten going forward to eliminate the condition that you need the care for. the choices were somewhat limited to a lot of people. >> the promise of this is to create a new normal for the american people where the option of getting health care is real. that wasn't the way it was before for tens of millions of americans -- the option of getting health care is real. >> the vast majority of large employers -- you were not medically underwritten and you were not penalized based on age. you're in as far as employment. if you worked for yourself, if you are a service worker and didn't have affordable coverage your options were greatly -- >> even that will be more
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rational going forward. as you eliminate discrimination based on pre-existing conditions, you addressed problems of portability that we saw before, someone leaves one employer and goes to the next, those are all fixes that will improve the employer-based system as well. in terms of the challenges obviously the launch of the website was much more difficult than was expected, but there were always going to be challenges. there's going to be new challenges. you look around the corner there's going to be difficulties and challenges associated with some of the payment issues that will happen down the line. these were always going to be there. there will always be difficulties. this is a major, major structural change to the health care system which is going to improve it eventually, but we have to anticipate that there will be difficulties. we got to soldier through those. that is the american ethic right, is you take challenges and overcome them. i think one of the issues is that a lot of the people who are
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coming and finding new plans and maybe they have to pay a little bit more or maybe the deductible is higher in some instances, but what they don't compare it against is the exposure they had under the old plan that maybe they never had the occasion to experience. >> the gentleman's time has expired. we have 15 minutes left and seven members to still ask questions. we will go to two minutes per member. >> did you really mean to say that the affordable care act has not resulted in increased premiums for the non-subsidized? >> sir, what i said is preventive care -- >> so you are ascribing it to the preventive health care aspect. >> that's what he asked me. that's what i answered. >> jonathan gruber, the
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architect of this bill, said it is basically income redistribution. there is also the increased premiums people are paying for their policies if they are not subsidized. do you have an estimate of how much -- what are the amount of increased taxes -- excuse me increased premiums people are paying to subsidize others on the exchange? >> no, sir, i don't. you can only talk about increased premiums -- dr. gruber would be one to suggest that if you compare like benefits to like benefits. >> let me go on. danny from baton rouge is losing his coverage. he says this is my apocalypse now. my family coverage went up 371%. monthly premiums for a family of four to $913 a month with a $4000 deductible. wow, i think any would like to choose his benefits as opposed to that.
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many businesses are going to lose their benefits, as many as 66% of employers according to your analysis will lose their grandfathered status. do you think administration would support my employee health care protection act that would allow workers to keep their group health care they have now in 2014 and beyond? >> as you know, the snapshot is not our office estimating anything. it was a description of the turnover that existed prior to 2010 in the individual and small group market. those statistics that you cited, and i think in the small group market, there are lots of plans that are grandfathered. there are other plans that are offering transition and early renewals and we are watching that. >> will the administration
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approve the same law given for the individual that if a small business wishes to keep their policy, they would be allowed to do so? >> the suggestion about a transitional of policy applies to both. >> the chair recognizes mr. engel from new york. >> i just want to say that new york is a good example of what's possible when the federal government as a willing and enthusiastic partner in aca implementation. we have hospitals persist dating in the various delivery system reform. our medicaid program is expanding. states like new york are finding success. i would like to know what your experience has been in states that have obstructed efforts mainly republican governors, to implement the aca, compared to states that have adopted all these measures. our americans experiencing
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easier times obtaining affordable health care coverage in states that have their exchanges and has the refusal of some states to expand medicaid affecting the rollout? >> i think that what we are seeing every day is governors actually considering the medicaid expansion, some as you say in new york, california, others adopted very early on. we were pleased just her day that the governor of iowa and dictated an interest in moving ahead on medicaid expansion. the governor of pennsylvania recently also indicated his interest in doing the same. so we are working actively with states around the country. i think it is enormously difficult for consumers in states where there is no medicaid expansion, they hear about the opportunity for affordable health coverage only to find out that they earn too
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less to qualify for a tax credit in the marketplace and really they have no viable option at all. that i'm told by our navigators on the ground, the people in community health centers, is one of the worst conversations they can have in this time. >> we spoke with the governor of kentucky the other day him and he explained to us kentucky, generally a republican state where it is working really well, where you have a governor who is a partner, who wants to see it work, it can work and it should work. i hope that more governors would continue to do what is in the best interest of their constituents, rather than playing political games. thank you. >> you just mentioned kentucky. 80% of the people signing up on our exchanges are medicaid. it has been a concern of mine when i was in state government before. medicaid has 72 million people and we expect an increase of 25
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million over the next 10 years. i believe medicaid is important for low-income children and disabled seniors that it was designed for. do you believe medicaid should be a program of last resort or should it become its own insurance program, as it is now? >> i think the enrollment numbers are about 51 million not 72. also, medicaid has played a critical role for lower-income americans, not only offering a wide range of health benefits, but at a lower cost per capita than private insurance and medicare. >> the question i want to get at, though, your department has estimated that about 5 million americans who previously purchased insurance through their employer will move to medicaid. that is the number we got. are you familiar with that? over the next four years
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estimates of 5 million will move to medicaid. >> i'm not aware of that. the office of actuary is really an independent office, but i can check that out. >> the estimate is $20 billion in this group of people who previously purchased health insurance through their employer who will be moving to medicaid because of the affordable care act. one of the questions about income, there is a question about income verification and residency verification. i know that is up to the states to do, but the states that don't expand medicaid, the information right now it is just like trust the federal government's numbers. >> again, sir, we don't enroll anyone in medicaid. what we do is look at income eligibility, and based on the
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state law, send that individual's name and the information that has been collected to the state. the state actually is the connection between the individual and medicaid. that is going on right now. we don't enroll in medicaid. >> but they have to take your data. >> the chair recognizes mr. griffith. >> let me just let you know that i agree with the legal reasoning on the matters brought up earlier in the testimony. i do find it interesting that when we are listening to my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, they talk about scare tactics. this is similar to what they said back in the summer in september when we were holding hearings. we were hearing the plan would not be ready on october 1. i am concerned we will have some of that same kind of thing now. we are being attacked for asking questions. we are just trying to get the information.
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it is a matter of we are trying to get to the bottom of a lot of these problems that we are concerned about out there. obviously, one of the tactics, they say this is all just political. you certainly have accepted responsibility and you don't believe we caused the problems of the website, thereby making the public distrist it. is that correct? my colleagues have implied that somehow we are responsible for all that distressed out there, and i don't think that's accurate. i don't believe the federal employee health benefit plan is a skimpy plan. i was previously on the federal employee health benefit plan and my family is facing 117% increase out of our pocket to go on to the exchange here in d.c. you don't think plan you have a -- is skimpy, do you?
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>> no, sir, i don't. you're going to see younger employees pay a lot less. >> let me say this in regard to medicaid. you are sending people to the states based on income alone. they may have sufficient income -- they may not have enough income but they qualify for medicaid under income but they don't qualify for medicaid because they own a house. they have to choose whether they want their asset or whether they want medicaid. >> the state law in state medicaid enrollment officials will make the determination of whether that individual will be enrolled. when they present at the 1330 three percent or less.
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-- when they present at the marketplace based on 133% or less. in virginia right now will be based on a lot less because virginia has not raised their medicaid eligibility. we would make the determination and referred that. >> madam secretary, my governor of georgia particularly want an answer to this question and i'm sure all the other 49 governors would, too. the affordable care act forced states to retain eligibility requirements for the decay through the maintenance of effort provision going back to 2009. with the expiration of these provisions, they will finally have the flexibility to tailor their medicaid program to best address the needs of their population. will the medicaid maintenance of effort expire for all states beginning on january 1, 2014? >> yes, sir. >> thank you. i want to ask you quickly, in regard to e-health plans, this california-based company is 10 years old.
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i think they have spent about $100 million developing their program, allowing people to go on to their website and find plans, and yet we spend seven times that much reinventing the wheel. can you tell me why we didn't just use that technology or maybe some other silicon valley company to have a public-private partnership, rather than starting over from scratch, and who made that decision? >> i would tell you that while there are some comparisons with the e-health situation, there are a number of features very different in the federal website that were required. e-health doesn't determine citizenship eligibility. >> but did you make that decision, or was that made by someone else? >> what decision, sir?
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>> the decision to start over from scratch. >> i don't think they did start over from scratch. they adopted a number of the known technologies that were in place. >> how many times did you actually visit with the president since 2009 or 2010 when you came onboard, hammy personal visits did you have with him at the white house regarding the affordable care act? >> a lot. >> can you verify that? >> the gentlemen's time has expired. >> madam secretary, in a proposed rule in november, cms announced they were considering increasing payments to insurance companies with sicker than average customers under section 1342 of the aca. this program is proposed -- is supposed to be financed by insurance companies are
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dissipating in the change, but the proposal appears to put taxpayers on the hook, specifically the rule states that "this proposed adjustment may increase the total amount of risk payments the federal government reduced the amount of risk order to seek." did you estimate how much more money taxpayers would have to pay to insurance companies under this proposed rule? >> the risk corridor has always been a part of the affordable care act and is anticipated for the first couple of years to be used for reinsurance and risk corridors for the new marketplaces. so we did put out a proposed rule. we talked about the fact that we would look carefully at what the enrollment is at the end of 2014 in order to determine going forward. we won't know anything about what that risk corridor looks like until we get more enrolled.
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>> the rule says we cannot estimate the magnitude of this impact on aggregate risk corridor payments and charges at this time. do you think it is responsible to put taxpayers on the hook for insurance companies' losses? is it responsible to make these payments without even estimating the cost? >> again, it will be based on what the risk pool looks like. we always knew that in the first couple of years the market would be attracting some customers and not attracting others and that there would be some risk in what we are hopeful for, as the affordable care act continues into maturity, is that we have mature pools. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, madam secretary, for being with us. i have some specific questions to ask about some of the promises that the president made
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to the american people as he was rolling out the idea of the affordable care act. one of those promises being, if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. can you commit to the american people today that this is true and that they will be able to keep their doctor? >> congresswoman, i think that as you well know in the private market, networks change on a constant basis. the president is not overtaking the private health insurance market. >> you're absolutely right, but the promise that was made to the american people so that this piece of legislation, which is now law, was passed was that they would be able to keep their doctor. >> consumers will have the opportunity to pick and choose a network that continues their doctor.
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there's nothing in the law that has their doctor lost to them. >> insurance companies make network decisions day in and day out. >> but that was not the promise that the president made. did the president not make that promise to the american people? >> this is the private insurance market changes networks basically on a daily basis every -- >> why in the world did the president make that promise to the american people. >> he was trying to assure people that the law did not require them to lose their doctor. >> i don't believe that he was reassuring the american people that they would lose their doctor. i think he was reassuring the american people that if this law passed, that they would be able
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to keep their doctor. therefore today you are basically saying no, that this is not the case. >> i'm saying that there is -- again, this is the private insurance market where insurance companies develop networks and change them on a regular basis. >> and the american people will be able to keep their doctor if they pay more, according to ezekiel emanuel. >> they can choose a plan where their doctor is not available based on the kind of premium the kind of deductible. they have a choice. >> that concludes our questioning at the present. madame secretary, we will have some follow-up questions we will send to you and we ask you please respond properly. we have a couple of unanimous consent requests. a letter from dr. julie welch, an emergency medicine physician and educator from indianapolis. without objection, so ordered. >> dr. gingrey referenced an
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offer to the president to provide a platform for the market exchange. i would like to submit his letter for the record and i will make this part of a question for the record that i will do in follow-up. >> without objection, so ordered. >> one is from my constituent that i referenced. these are the different individuals impacted by the aca. and then the third one. >> without objection, so ordered. thank you, madam secretary, for your patience, for responding to all of our questions. i remind members they have 10 business days to submit questions for the record. that means they should submit their questions by the close of business on tuesday, december 31. thank you, madam secretary, for
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your indulgence. with that, without objection the subcommittee is adjourned. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] [captioning performed by national captioning institute]
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>> here is a look at tonight's line-up. at 8:00, a look at the federal budget agreement. on c-span2 the house oversight biddy hearing on health care -- the house oversight committee hearing on health care premiums. >> this is a train depot in planes, georgia, the oldest going in jordan. you can imagine in 1976, the hustle and bustle of the campaign. you had tables and desks and phones going off and letters coming in and out of the air. this woman was here helping run the campaign from this little
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building. this is where rosalynn carter helped organize their peanut per day. it was a way to get the word out about jimmy carter using volunteers going door to door shaking hands. it was a message so effective it helped him get elected. >> watch our program on rosalynn carter at our website www.c- or see it on saturday. on monday we will air our encore presentation. >> the archduke ferdinand and his wife were in surrey a low -- sarah rio tinto -- surrey able on a tour. it was a bad day for him to come
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to the national holiday, and serbians was furious that austria hungry had taken over bosnia. it was seen as a provocation. there were people who had been plotting to against the archduke. they decided to kill him. they did. it was sloppy police work. they shot the archduke and his wife point-blank and they both died. >> the assassination of archduke ferdinand and his wife. margaret mcmillan on the war that ended peace, sunday night at 8:00. >> we're waiting to bring you a live briefing from the united nations. a report released yesterday finds and go weapons were likely used repeatedly in four other locations in syria. this in addition to the already documented attack on august 21
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in damascus. you're waiting for the u.n. team to brief reporters in new york city. while waiting, and look at this morning plus "washington journal." host: during us is a democrat from wisconsin, a member of the budget committee, financial services committee. how did you vote yesterday on the budget deal? guest: i voted yes. host: why? guest: i think many of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle have learned a tremendous message about being dug in and not wanting to make conference rise. we saw the government shut
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down. we saw a lot of harm done to our constituents. they are our constituents. they suffered. and so i think many of us learned a lesson about tbeing being dug in ideologically. i want to laud paul ryan and patty murray in the senate. they did some hard work. coming to this deal and standing up to their various conferences because there will is much to resize the deal. host: walking into the vote, had you made up your mind? guest: i had pretty much made up my mind. i can pay you i was inspired to do so as i was on a plane coming from south africa to memorialize nelson mandela president nelson mandela, and it started hitting
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reports, and giving the limited wi-fi availability on this ride that the koch brothers and all of these sort of right-oriented entities were coming out against the deal. that led me to believe there was something at least looking at, the fact that they were not even peeling back the layers of the deal and had decided it was not good. i decided to look at it, and i saw paul ryan being defensive about it. so that told me right away that my colleague also from wisconsin was really taking some of the blows, and i thought this was worth looking into. host: on the left several -- 32 democrats voted against the bill, including some of your colleagues, such as bass and
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chu, john conyers, sander levin, ranking member of the ways and means committee, raul grijalva. how much swaying was done? guest: there was no whipping on the part of the progressive caucus toward this deal. i had a good talk with keith ellison, and i do not fault him for voting against the deal. there were no benefits for extended unemployment benefits. there are over a million people who will lose benefits, starting december 31, and it is going to wreak havoc on our economy on top of it. these people will not have not only money to sustain themselves, that will not have money to put act into the economy. we extended unemployment i cannot count the number of times since the 1960's what out
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any offset -- >> both the professor and the doctor of the world health organization will he here on monday. if any journalist would like to have a one-on-one interview or one on two interview with the doctor or with the professor i will pass out my card now and you can get in touch with me and we will see if we can set something up for monday. i cannot promise you, but in case there is that interest. all right?
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>> they should be here shortly. >> we are waiting for that briefing live from new york
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city, idu and team that led the investigation into chemical weapons use repeatedly used in syria. a report released yesterday says they found four other locations where sarin was used. while we wait, let's return to some of the portion of this morning's "washington journal." guest: and i think i was disappointed a little bit with how as one of my colleagues observed, during the discussion that no matter how much sense you may, people have their ideological stance, they will not be persuaded by any facts you present to them. that was a disappointment. we had good conversations about family, his kids, my kids, and he is a pleasant person. host: does a conversation like that time spent my that, could
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that lead to cooperation up there? guest: i think these codels are very important for building this kind of relationships between people. at the end of our trip he asked if i was ready to convert to republican, and i said they would have to change a lot before i would do that. host: twengwen moore is our guest. joe is our guest. caller: how are you today? guest: i am doing great. caller: when i called, i was glad to see you. i am from the bronx. not from wisconsin. i'm the person that built a social work community, just like president obama, so i do with urban people.
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the less fortunate, so does he. what i really wanted to do was to talk to the congressman that was before you. but i did not get to him. one of the things that i wanted to say to him so i'm just talking to you a little but now, is that when we look at the republicans, when they talk about unemployment is not the way is it supposed to become it is supposed to be 16% now when it comes to health, the people unemployed, they see unemployment going down, they do not need it. these people are talking about sides of the mouth. now they talk about everybody got to work unemployment, everybody go back to work, everybody go back to work. the keystone pipeline -- the keystone pipeline is not going
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to help the people that need to work. that is just a few jobs for their friends that will give them that money every two years every four years and every six years. host: what would you like to see done joe? caller: what i would like to see done is to pass all of the employment that the president has come up with. host: thank you, sir. guest: you have made some good points. everybody is not going to benefit from just one sector being funded like the keystone pipeline, if that were to pass. and you make the point about the jobs bill that the president has put together that would more universally spread to benefit across the country. of course, we have not been able to get the house to take up the legislation at all. as a matter of fact, we have had over 40 votes to repeal the
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affordable care act, but we cannot get the jobs bill on the floor. so i am glad that you raise that point. with regard to unemployment being at 16%, that would be catastrophic. that would be more than a depression. 7%, about where we are now, is as much as we can tolerate. it is a threshold at which we ought to be looking at extending unemployment benefits. people are not working because they are lazy bums that do not want to work. as a matter of fact, if i can speak for some republicans their argument is that there is so much uncertainty in the economy and people do not want to invest in people do not want to create new jobs and they have trillions of dollars sitting on the sidelines -- these are dollars that would and could and should and ought to be spent for poor people, so people are not unemployed if they want to be employed. and all of the reasons that we do not have a jobs package
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employers are not doing it because of uncertainty, we are in a recession, and so these people deserve, especially at this time of year, some decent treatment. it is interesting in this budget deal we passed we were concerned about not depriving doctors of thate doc fix and the higher and benefits they received, but for those people who are unemployed we leave them in the lurch. thank you for calling. host: i want to show you this from yesterday. this is boehner speaking about health care. i want to get your reaction. [video clip] >> we have spent the last are trying to protect iraqi people from the consequences of this health care law. if you look toward next year, we will look for ways to protect the american people from what is happening out there. but as you have seen, the house has acted 50 times over the last
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couple of years to try to protect the american people. none of these bills have moved to the united states senate. all of them drew veto threats from the white house. elections have consequences. host: representative moore? guest: betty was interesting using the words protecting and consequences in the tech it -- in that segment. it is not even pass a test. -- pass the laugh test. the affordable care act, like it or not will the mess with a terrific rollout, and i want to know what happened that it was so awful -- >> take you for coming. i'm with the office for disarmament affairs. i would like to introduce the people who are at the desk. the highroad presented it for disarmament affairs the head of
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the missions, the un's mission and with him is a person of the organization for the prohibition of chemical weapons, one of the team leaders, and also another team leader from the world health organization. so the professor will make a statement and then we will take questions. i'm sorry -- i'm sorry -- i'm going to make a statement. then the doctor and then we will take questions. >> i do not want to make an introductory statement. i want to thank you for being here. there has been a that of publication flowing after the report was put on the website yesterday. i'm simply here to answer any questions when it comes to the mechanism or anything that road plates to the you and secretariat and also for the overall effort that the
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secretary-general entrusted me with. the people who have to tell the story are the professor, and others, and they're the ones who will speak and they are the ones who will be able to answer all your questions. i'm sure you have many of them. let me turn to the others. >> as you are well aware of, we completed our final report of the secretary-general. of the investigational allegations of chemical weapons use in syria. the secretary has received 16 allegations. we read this allegations, and seven of them warranted full investigations. the report what you have probably studied or maybe should study, is the seven follow-up foundations. in conclusion, they split into
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three groups. there is one group with the allegations which is relatively large size events. they encompass parts of the society but the military, the hospitals, the rescue workers several witnesses, whatever. those type of allegations is quite simple to investigate especially if you are in the site that we were in. we cannot follow the second place we investigated. we were not able to go there. but the footprints in the society following a large event is so obvious that you can make conclusions from what we referred to as epidemiology. the second class of offense that we now report to our three events that happened in a medium-sized environment. it happened to soldiers am a two syrian soldiers.
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and we find as we see these soldiers, we interviewed them, so on, in some places we were able to go. in other places we were not able to go to the site because it was contested. but the evidence in this group of events is based basically on interviews and lots were taken. in the third class of the investigations that were performed we deal with something which is quite unique in the context of chemical weapons come and that is areas amounts being used. this comes to the incident and also another incident. that incident we could not pursue -- the latter incident we cannot pursue them. the earlier one we could pursue because a woman that was intoxicated there was taken by ambulance is into turkey. she died passing the border into
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turkey, and we could then take samples in an autopsy performance, and we could then confirm the presence of sarin or sarin signatures. these are the sorts of events we now report on, and as you know, our mandate is only to report on the use of chemical weapons. i would like to acknowledge the contribution of my colleagues and i would also like to acknowledge all the u.n. support that has been there from the office of legal affairs the political -- who paid for the political route for this to be possible. but also the seven logistic efforts and security efforts with the field organizations with the youu.n. i will not say anymore. the floor is to save questions
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if my colleagues want to have a comment at this stage. >> ok, so we will take questions. if you could announce what organization you are with, and if you can use your side microphone, please. >> ira present -- i represent the united nations association and i represent -- my question to you is that which is the follow-up on all anything else, every buddy else asking the same questions but you have seen, you have been to those places, and you say in fact that chemical weapons were used by both sides. now, the basic question comes in that yes, you did not have the mandate to apportion the blame as to who is the one to be blamed. but in the broader sense come a
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can you point in time at -- broader sense, can you point in time when this happened, and for the mitigation of the people who work hurt -- who were hurt in these attacks that certain measures that can be taken to bring to justice the people who did commit these crimes. did you come across any such things, and these are the questions which are now on everyone's minds. >> thank you for your question. first of all, you say that both sides were active. we do not say that. to go from this step where we are to confirm the use and to go into attribution requires quite some more efforts. it requires more resources. and on top of that, it requires that the mechanism that we are following allow methods to be
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used that is not allowed today. the guidelines that we are working through is set by the member states them and they are not very intrusive. the techniques and the technologies you need to do a forensic investigation could be intrusive to the extent that it is not allowed in the guidelines. i think it was a wise decision that we should not try to go into the attribution and to try to pursue the investigation into attribution. we are there to find facts. we areon on a fact-finding mission, and these facts could be used as others. it others -- others could put these facts in connection would have other information, and others pursue the issue of attribution. >> do you believe that you were given all the opportunities to perform the functions of your
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responsibility completely to your satisfaction, or do you think you could have had some more time to come to more conclusions? thank you. >> given the circumstances, i think we have the time and the resources that we needed. >> what we were told that when you provided council the briefing that you characterize the quality of the sarin as fairly high grade or high quality. and if you can confirm or say what you want about that but what i tried to do is get a sense of the recent cases, some of the ones which involved poisoning of soldiers, whether you were able to compare the quality of the sari,n, if it was
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a similar grade a door great, and if there was a big about his most recent incidents -- i know you did not have access to the munitions, and some of the evidence was degraded -- anything that indicated that it was a less sophisticated type of delivery system or anything that indicated this is more of a do- it-yourself kind of weapon or sarin than -- >> coming into -- if the chemistry is primitive it is a difficult issue, and you need quite much chemical to be able to assess that. what we have done in these investigation is to find remainders of sarin a lin lots where you do not usually find sarin.
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it is impossible to have that discussion. when it comes to the munition we cannot confirm, cannot verify the allegations when it comes to munitions, but delegations to talk about the cap alt, sort of -- catapult, like who made the device, a propane cylinder, but this goes with the allegations. and it is not verified by us. >> [indiscernible] to follow up on missions, we seem to have heard of occasions of fairly strange munitions including plastic grenades am a that may have been dropped by helicopters. can you comment on that? the second russian, is the president's -- the presence of -- hwich which you cit --e -- was it found in several of the incidents?
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>> i will send it to my chemical colleagues. the first one, the allegation, and some witnesses reporting that we could not a robbery the statements of -- we could not corroborate the statements of the plastic cylinders, it is not verified by us. this is in places we never saw the munition in its primary state, in its native state. so again the missions are reported on, but we have not been able to verify it. as it comes to the -- what is the significance of that? >> the significance of hexamine some allege the hexamine is used as an acid stabilizer.
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others have alleged it is a remnant from an artifact of reduction of rdx, which is a high explosive. it is also used as a heating element for homemade stoves. it has a number of uses. you will see in the final report a much more comprehensive detailing of some of the chemicals that were found, particularly in one incident. and in the samples you will see that hexamine is found. >> was that the 11th than where it was found -- was that the only incident where it was found? >> those were the only samples we were able to take. it is clear in the report what types of samples we were able to take. >> matthew lee.
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thanks for doing the briefing. it is rare in the you and system -- in the u.n. system. i want to know if there was a russian journalist who said there was a two gigabyte file and if you found a video of use and i wanted to know there seems to be that some people say the rocker was filmed elsewhere before you guys looked at it great was their only one rocket you look at, and are you aware of this claim? what do you think the range of the rocket was? a lot of it seems to write on that, where it comes from, and we were wondering what you were finding. >> the incident you furred -- you refer to is the correct video. that video, together with a lot
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of open source information, help us with the background narrative. as for the other open source information, it is difficult to verify. he have to be on site in the country to verify what sort of narrative to spin from the sources. then you moved to the other incident and you referred to the rocket being seen somewhere else. we have nothing -- no evidence has been represented to us that would make us confirm that. what else? >> [indiscernible] >> yeah. we have seen like you have seen problems performing studies on these rockets. and we have consulted with experts, and if you simulate the
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flight path, it seems not to meet where may be indicated from the report. two kilometers could be a fair guess, i would assume. it all depends. you have to sort of set some parameters, which we do not do not know to the extent they were filmed or what they were filmed with. we do not know their weight around ever. two kilometers could be a fair guess. now, what else? >> the gentleman in the second row here. >> thank you. on the attack you mentioned in the report, there was an ied
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that contained the gas. is that something you have seen before that they have had it in the arsenal of the government? in syria i have not heard much about it. is that something the government would use? did you tell the security counsel about that all of the of the gas, because that was leaked from the council about what you are talking about, the quality of the sarin. if you could address that. >> i tried to make some comment on the quality of sarin and i compared it to my experience in your rack -- iraq. the ied -- i am not an expert and weapons enough. we have seen other ied's interior, although not as many or as well known as the ones used in a rack -- iraq.
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there is evidence. >> >> are you specifically talking about a chemical ied? >> this is something the government has been using, or appears to have been using. >> i think in the history of warfare, improvised explosive devices have been used by all parties through all conflicts at certain times within the conflicts. whether modern forces or other forces. we cannot speak to who may possess or use ied's in the country, however, i think a lot of the social media and events coming out of syria have shown that explosive devices, whether improvised or not, have been used. >> the government talks about the victims, does that tell you something? >> it is hard for me to say who
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is the victim of an ied. >> reports say the government is the victim. >> yes i understand that they say it was government soldiers but i have no way of knowing the nationality or the identity of the improvised explosive devices. >> is this the first time you have ever reported government soldiers being victims of gas, correct? >> that is correct. we also say in the report that because of the circumstances at the scene, we could not cooperate -- corroborate the link between the gas and soldiers. >> and the other two soldiers involved? >> no, it's the same. in the city, it it corroborates the allegations. >> thank you very much.
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i'm from the associated press. before i ask my question, i wonder if you could tell us what you told the members of the general assembly about the quality of sarin so we don't have to go and ask all of our diplomatic friends and get it wrong? but my real question is that the secretary-general just urged that those responsible for these attacks be brought to justice. i know that you sort of addressed that in the beginning but what i'm asking you is, is it actually -- if more research were done, if other people took this up with a different mandate than you had, is it possible to
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determine who was responsible? >> to take the last question first, it really has some political inclination, the question. we work with something we call the secretary-general's mechanism. that is given to the secretary- general by the general assembly. but it also states sort of the rules for what can be used when you do this investigations. we can lean on what is told in the decision taken in 1989, but we could also lean on what is agreed upon, what the who could do. but it is all sort of controlled by the member states of these various organizations. so we are not free, as a police
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force would be free, to use any method they could to validate or have a chain of custody. member states, if several member states are not called upon going further on this, there are other ways to do that. and here maybe i should let you say something. >> thank you. before i come back to that question, let me say that the team did not make a statement just now in the general assembly. the secretary-general made a statement to introduce the report, and then there was a chance for member states to respond to it. so they did not make a statement. coming back to the mechanism there have been a number of calls for an additional mechanism, additional investigations and and i think with the team has said is this is the mandate we have. this is the mandate we were given by the member states. and if there are other ways to come to a truth finding as to the responsibility, surely that will be undertaken. we must also remember that we
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have had two more recent experiences, recent investigations conducted. one was in lebanon, and the other was about pakistan's benazir bhutto. i can isms were decreed by the member states for those particular cases. in this case, the secretary- general's mechanism specifically says weather, but not who used chemical weapons. -- says whether but not who used chemical weapons. >> page nine it is mentioned the commission of human rights has a more precise mandate. so that is the form of the commission. no, it is a different mandate. they are investigating any chemical weapons. >>[inaudible]
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>> they are part of the same thing. a good example of interagency collaboration. >> my question is, you can say who is responsible for the use of chemical weapons, though there is evidence they were used against soldiers. then if there are other elements besides the army using chemical weapons, how can you make sure that in syria chemical weapons are eliminated in the country totally? >> this is the task we have been given. would you like to comment on that? >> i was wondering if it should be me or our cw. this is a totally new mechanism now.
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obviously, we have the mandate to verify that the stocks are destroyed and also verify that the stocks are actually as declared by the government. so i think this is the process that is ongoing now. the deadline is june 30 next year. so far we are on track. but maybe scott should really address this. >> [inaudible]. another thing are the elements, other factions that are using chemical weapons, then it is not out of control, there is a war there. >> that is a good point. however, the fathers and mothers of the chemical weapons convention have not put in within the convention a requirement for and a seating member state to have legislation in the country to make it illegal to possess, use, or
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otherwise control chemical weapons. we expect, like all member states that syria will implement such legislation making it illegal for anyone within their territory or citizens of syria to possess use, or otherwise control chemical warfare agents or chemical weapons. >> may i remind you that there is a firewall between these activities. we are confined to investigating the use. there is a total and other activity and that is taking care of the chemical weapon transporting them out of the country. >> thank you. you were very careful with observing the chain of custody when you transferred the samples to the laboratories in europe. i understand, correct me if i'm
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wrong, that you had to officials from the syrian government to accompany the samples. but did you have officials or observers from the opposition? we have two parties to this conflict. unless europe represented the opposition, you must also -- because they also faced accusations of using chemical weapons. and if you did not why didn't you have officials from the opposition accompany the samples to the laboratories? because you really give the impression if you didn't that the government is the one that is accused. the second question is, looking at the deadlock we have with the security council and the use of veto, if the information you supplied was never used to somehow pinpoint the culprit responsible parties would that really disappointing way great deal that so much work, so much effort, so many risks you have
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taken, and then they are not used to determine who is the guilty party and punish them and stop further attacks in the future as a deterrent like this? >> the last question first. i think we have gathered as much information as we could. what will eventually happen with this information how will be used in the future, we don't know. but it could be useful if the issue is to be pursued by some other body. when it comes to the precedence of representatives of the syrian government, and the chain of custody issue, it is set out in the guidelines that if we take samples, we are to split the samples with the member state. and the member state in this case, we do it two ways. when we take blood samples we take blood samples, they take
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blood samples from the same patient at the same time, and we split it this way. when it comes to soil or when it comes to metal pieces, this is much more difficult to do. if we take a metal piece and we break it in the middle, we may have the positive side of it and they may have the negative, or the other way around. so in order to split samples when it comes to what we referred to as environmental samples, soil, metal pieces, whatever, that has to be done in the laboratory at opcw, and the guidelines then say that the member state should be there. and there is only one representative of the member state. >> there are two parties in the conflict, and so many fingers now pointing to the opposition for the use of chemical weapons but they were not invited to preserve the chain of custody. that is my problem with this. >> i'm sorry, let me come in. we are an organization that
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heels, as you well know, with member states. in the mechanism, it is clearly stated how we proceed in the case of a chemical weapons investigation. the alleged use of chemical weapons. the say. government asked the syrian government was the ones who came to us. they are very distinct guidelines. us is a 90 page guidelines. every step is outline. on top of that, you make an agreement with the government how you proceed, and that is the way we proceed. we split samples with the government because they need to know that the samples actually were taken from their soil and from the people that they met and sampled. until the case is resolved. >> evelyn leopold. mrs. kane, have you used your considerable influence to get another agency to break the firewall? as you can see by the questions
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and as you have heard, it's a chasm where everyone rushes in depending on their political preference, and the issue will not be solved of whether the government or the opposition uses them unless there is naming and shaming. >> thank you for the compliment of my considerable influence but i'm afraid that when you look at it, i am really very pleased in many aspects that what we now have is i believe as i think of the investigation that took place we had syria acceding to the chemical weapons convention, and that is a fantastic achievement. that leaves only four countries outside of the chemical weapons convention. two have signed and not ratified, so it is basically six, but it is a very small number. and one of those countries assured me last night they are in the process and very close to
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exceeding to the chemical weapons convention as well. so that is very good news. but i do think this is now, if i can call it now, a chapter of the investigation and that is a chapter that is closed. there may be something that may happen subsequently with regard to the accountability. that is really up to the member states. on the other hand, i think the firewall has to be there because you cannot combing all this. -- you cannot co-mingle this. the firewall is therefore a very good reason and i would not use my influence to break that. >> third row. >> james, al jazeera. we now have your 82 page document of the results you came up with in this mandate. talk about future investigations. maybe your data and samples when they will become evidence. where are they, what happens to
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them, and how can they be attained by a prosecuting authority? could the international criminal court, can a private prosecution? who can get a hold of the role data, the role samples now? --the raw data, the role samples now? >> everything is stored and everything is accessible if there is a legal procedure. i don't know. >> we have actually discussed this, and that is a very good question. basically, the work was done by the secretaries mechanism, so the samples and everything else is the property of the u.n. there is considerable interest not only in the possibility of following up with regards to aidan accountability question, but also considerable interest on the part of the laboratories that have performed the analyses. again, after a very long time, after many years, it was the first time for many they had such complete samples.
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so there is considerable interest in publishing some of the results and also having some of the research that was done on that. we have not come to a conclusion. frankly for us the first priority was to get the investigation done, put it before the world community there it is. how the next that we need to concentrate on is how it is going to be safeguarded, how it is going to be stored, how it is going to be guarded as a living document that can be accessed by others if so wanted. >> but if a victim of this decides to take on a private prosecution, would the u.n. hand over the samples? what are the rules governing this? >> i would have to request advice from our legal counsel, frankly. >> i think it is also important to remind you that the samples and the information that we have received is still under a chain of custody. the chain of custody did not and when the samples were open for analysis.
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the remnants of the material was put act into the vials, sealed up, and the chain of custody remains. >> this is a very good point, if i may add, it is a few scientific value. having seen it documented the victims in the first place, the chemical -- the clinical features, the treatment to be received. there is a lot to be learned and validate what we think we know. about the handling and managing of chemical weapons, chemical agents. it is important that it is not just the sample itself, but also the studies and knowledge that can be used to save more lives next time it happens. >> let me add a human element to this. it were many victims, many case studies. they were videoed recorded, etc., so there is an element of privacy also. these people trusted us with this information, so we have to be careful not to use it in a
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way that would be contrary to their interests. >> you also have ethical considerations. >> the woman in the first row. >> thank you, my name is sylvia. when the destruction of the chemical weapons, is there any safe mechanism to get rid of these chemical weapons? and which country will supervise the destruction of these chemical weapons? and where will it be done? because there are reports that it be done in lebanon. >> i don't think we have the answer to your questions. chemical weapons are destroyed at this time. it is done in this country, it is done in the russian federation. there are safe ways of doing it. activity has been going on for
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15 years -- >> 16. >> 16 years. so there are safe ways of doing it. a our risk assessments, all crossings taken. so whatever the end result of this, i think we should trust and i trust it will not stay in lebanon. >> the gentleman in the second row. >> yes, i'm from rome. when you just arrived you said that you were able to do successful this mission because you had the mission not to find out who actually used it, just paraphrasing, but that is what i understood it to mean. which means instead year mission had been different the way maybe the syrian government or any other -- you feel that you
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had not been able to accomplish what you did, and then before you arrived in syria, you must have an idea of what you're going to do and accomplish, and today, one to 10, how much are you satisfied with your work? >> i think your first question has a political dimension and a technical dimension. if we were to an interview shame, -- if we were to do an attribution, this would be a different setting and i would not comment on that. but technically, i think we did what we could do. we used instruments that we were asked to use and we arrived at the conclusion. on a scale of zero to 10, i think we are 8.7-something.
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and i think it is very difficult to go from where we are using the same information. i would not be able to pinpoint who was the perpetrator. i would not be able to say that. you have to have more methods. the have to use methods that are not validated yet and so on. so given the task, given the mandate we had, we have lived up to the scale of 8.7, i would say. >> may i comment? there is a difficulty in planning for a mission and going right after an incident, where you can undergo activities. the political negotiations are taking place, and the entry point is leaps in time. so the planning and the type of technique that you use will
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change and adapt accordingly. so the investigation, the scale of the tragedy was around us, but it was a few days -- the scale of the tragedy was horrendous but it was a few days and the suffering was so great, that is one type of investigation. going into another investigation, six months later you have to go buy a certain set of successful and succeeding chains of thinking and proving one after the other, and that was due to the political negotiation between the two. it was not just one technical dimension and one political one, but the interlocking of the two of them. >> one or two more questions. >> thank you. after you finish the investigation report that syria has provided under the second mandate of the elimination of the cw, presenting a declaration
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of what had passed, what i want to know is whether you guys have looked at it or whether it had shed any light or deepen your understanding of what may have happened or evidence of munitions that were in use were linked to the case, the kinds of things syria had in their stockpile? is there anything that provided sort of a greater understanding of what may have happened? i understand your mandate is not to find out who, but this is kind of factual information that i think one might want to look at. >> i could say no comments, but i will give you an answer, and that is not really. no not really, there is no information around that that shed light on what was happening. >> [inaudible].
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>> i have to say i cannot answer that question. >> we said this was going to be the last question. ok, one and a half. >> are you asking us to believe that you have no inkling after all of this research and all of this hard work and risking your life and your colleagues' you have no inkling who is the guilty party in the attacks? because if you're telling that with all due respect, how good are your results to the future investigations or any attempt to persecute the culprits? >> i am quite happy with what we have achieved. we have probably triggered the syrian government to give up their chemical weapons. i'm quite happy with that. i'm quite happy with the
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scientific results and so on. >> you should be a politician, really. >> and has told before, these facts could be used by others that have the mandate. we don't have the mandate. i could speculate, and frequently when i sit by myself and friends at dinner i speculate on these issues, but i don't have information that would stand in court. i don't have the information that would stand in court if i was going to be in court. >> so in the future, court procedures will need much, much more work than what you have done? >> it will need arm information -- it will need our information and more, yes. >> last question, thank you very much. >> i have a couple of questions regarding perfect nations on the report. -- regarding clerk occasions on the report. could you clarify syrian versus. signature. and i am under the impression --
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and the reports of witnesses, a foul-smelling odor was clearly mentioned. so the mandate does not require linking to who did it or how it was delivered, but could you clarify the link between the witness accounts of foul- smelling gases and the evidences of the trace of sarahrin, and what are the official numbers of confirmed victims and each of the four incidents? >> i will take the last point there. sarin and sarin signatures. if you are early in an incident you may find in tact sarin in the ground or in urine. you probably would not find it intact in the blood. you may if you have a quick dose
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and come in after that. when we use the term sarin signature, that means we have scientific evidence that sarin has been there and left a mark. the mark normally in the gas is that sarin is attaching the proteins in the blood and the methodology is to flush sarin back into the sarin form. so there is a measure that sarin has been there and we refer to that as a signature. sometimes we refer to the signature as the breakdown product that is there. you are correct sarin is odorless but whatever is also there at the same time -- explosives, other chemicals -- they could smell. some smell fishy. so there are other compounds. and frequently, people are not
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very, very -- should i say orientated in a situation like that. their judgment is not very good. they are under enormous pressure , so their judgment is not very good. it could be other things, other smells of explosives or teargas or phosphorus or whatever. as to your last questions, about the victims numbers -- >> as should teach you better to ask technical questions of a professor. the number of victims are reported by outside of sources. for example, the minister of health of the serious reported victims the same day. -- of the syrians reported victims the same day. so it is very difficult to ascertain unless you go to the
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morgue and count the death certificates. and in some of the conditions it is borderline conditions, so we really only get what is written here is what we use to compare several outside sources, in addition to the legacy report, the first responders, the samples taken. so it is really a jigsaw puzzle that we do. >> this is a follow-up -- so the u.n. does not have any official numbers from their investigation on how many victims? it is too difficult to discern? >> one of the doctors interviewed the first day was saying, i was stuffing children's bodies one on top of the other to walk. so it is really difficult to ascertain the number of victims. it is just that what happened was of a certain magnitude. >> i would like to thank all of the members of the panel and
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also thank you, journalists, for coming. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] >> secretary of state john kerry was on capitol hill this week to explain the administration's negotiations with iran over the use of nuclear weapons. secretary kerry was grilled by foreign intelligence committee members. we will have that hearing saturday morning at 10:00 eastern. tomorrow night, our international coverage continues with the nelson mandela memorial service. we will have highlights from tuesday's memorial, including remarks by president obama. it began saturday night at 8:35 eastern. >> c-span. we bring public affairs evidence to washington directly to you putting you in the room at congressional hearings, white house events, and briefings and conferences, offering complete
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gavel-to-gavel coverage of the u.s. house as a public service of private industry. c-span, created by the cable tv industry 34 years ago, funded by your local cable or satellite provider. and now watch us in hd. >> newly confirmed fcc chairman tom wheeler and his colleagues testified before the house energy and commerce subcommittee on the agency's goals. he talked about the delay of a broadcast spectrum auction to free up space for smartphone devices and other wireless communications. chairman wheeler told the committee they will only get one chance to have a successful auction because of statutory constraints. his testimony is about two hours, 20 minutes. >> called to order the communications, and it is a delight to welcome all five members of the federal communications commission, fully installed, bright shiny faces, ready to go today. we especially welcome you and
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look forward to working with you to set the communications agenda for the united states. the fcc is the harm of our government tasked with fostering some of the most important parts of our national economy, among them the telecommunications industry, media distribution and the internet. given the economic significance of these industries, the changes from congress, the charge of congress to encourage competition, license the national spectrum assets, and facilitate technological advances is one that must be discharged with transparency, accountability and a long view of the technological landscape. it is with this in mind that this subcommittee has worked over the last three years on efforts to improve the processes. as a subcommittee with jurisdiction over the sec, we take this task very seriously and with great care to ensure the commission not only remain a vital institution but one that serves as an example for other federal agencies of
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accountability and efficiency. bipartisan majority of the subcommittee is deeply committed to this cause and is proud to have reported a bipartisan fcc process reform bill to the full house of representatives yesterday. chairman wheeler, it is clear that you want to improve the agency. i appreciate your conversations and commas and like to commend you for turning your attention to this task as one of your first roles as chairman by asking one of your top advisers to review the fcc process and submit recommendations for improvement by early 2014. while there are a number of large proceedings pending at the commission, many of which we will talk about today, i am particularly the concerned with returning the commission to some of its long overdue response abilities. for example, despite multiple unsuccessful trips to the third circuit court of appeals the commission's responsibility to a dress the media ownership proceeding remains unfulfilled. additionally, licensing one of the original reasons for the
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creation of the commission has falling woefully behind. of particular note is the tragic pace of processing of applications and commissions media bureau. the a.m. radio industry has been clamoring for the ability to use fm translators to give new life to that classic medium. i depreciate with the commissioner has done taking on this issue and it is very good work. as a former licensee, i know firsthand they are in no rush to address translator applications. my own application sat unresolved 10 years. to put this in context my wife had actually sold our radio stations, our son went off and graduate from college, and every full power television station in the country convert it from analog to digital broadcasting. the commission can do better than that, should do better than that, and i am hopeful that we will improve that bureau. as the only one on the panel
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with the unique experience of having been a licensee of commercial broadcast and still under your jurisdiction with a n amateur radio license, i would offer two pieces of advice. first, where congress has spoken i urge you to heed the warnings and statute and reject calls to act in ways contrary to congressional intent. for example in the incentive auction proceedings, some were calling on the commission to exceed bidders from the spinning in the auction. others are calling for excessive guard bands in the attempt to and run the requirements to license, reclaim tv band spectrum. i'm just saying that both are bad ideas. second even seemingly small changes in your rules can have significant impact on the markets. the decision to apply and complete rules to its uhf discount has caused many problems. the problem is not that the commission needs to update the
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uhf discount rule, the problem is absent a decision how and when the commission will move forward has pressed paul's for an indefinite -- has pressed pa use for an indefinite time. i applaud the recent announcement of the schedule for the spectrum incentive auctions. both broadcast and wireless industries are waiting with bated breath to see how the fcc addresses this first of its kind auction, to say nothing of the public safety agencies that are counting on the fund to fund first net. it is good for stakeholders and commission. finally, during the proceeding the commission has on its plate we are working to tackle the tough issues like the ip translation, universal service reform, media ownership. chairman upton and i recently launched a large perceiving of our own. to update the communications act. each of you brings a unique perspective to your work on the
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commission, in the history lobbyist, a couple of lawyers and staffers. that experience, combined with your expertise on the fcc staff and you run work on the commission will be viable in our efforts as we work together to update and modernize the communications act. chairman wheeler, commissioner o'reilly we especially welcome you aboard the fcc. and commissioners, we'll come back not only to the commission but before the committee. thank you all for joining us today and we look forward to working together in this very critical sector of america's economy to spur further an ovation, and jobs. >> thank you, mr. chairman, for holding this hearing.
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it's wonderful to see a full federal communications commission before us. welcome to each one of you. a special welcome to the new chairman. i think you start out with total goodwill. with everyone that is on this committee. i think the full committee. in fact, i think the congress. there have been many months where we did not have a full commission. i want to once again thank commissioner clyburn for her exceptional leadership during that time, welcome to each one of the commissioners, and of course to the newest. who served on the other side of that table. when i first came to the committee, he was here when we began the telecom act, and now, guess what, we get to trudge
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through that all over again according to the chairman. so i guess there are some things we just never finish with. as chairman wheeler announced last week, the commission has made the upcoming incentive auction of broadcast television spectrum the top priority of the commission. and i agree. this is a rare opportunity to auction spectrum under one gigahertz, and the fcc has to structure rules to promote competitive wireless landscape manager carriers of all sizes both regional and national have an opportunity to bid competitively for licensed spectrum, and it has to be done right. it is the first time in the history of the world that an auction has been structured this way, and i appreciate, mr. chairman, and all the commissioners your understanding the delicacy of this needing to be done right well, and
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successfully. similarly, recognizing the enormous economic and societal benefits of licensed spectrum, which is tucked away in one corner of my telecom heart, the fcc has an opportunity to structure a band plan that ensures asian wide block spectrum under one gigahertz dedicated for unlicensed innovation. with unlicensed spectrum being a critical tool to bring broadband to underserved areas, including role america -- including rural america. this opportunity must be seized. in addition to this role the fcc has freeing up more spectrum for mobile broadband, i would like to highlight for issues the commission should make a top priority in the 2014. and i think you're going to. first, during the three months since i released a raft legislation, the message from
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individuals communications companies, and consumer groups has been abundantly clear. our video laws are in need of reform. they are broken. independent of such legislation, the commission has an important responsibility to promote competition, consumer choice, and localism across the video marketplace. second, i hope the commission will continue its focus on modernizing the e-rate program to support schools and libraries. in june, we called for such an update, and i am pleased that the white house and the fcc agree with us and have made this issue a key priority. he have to stay on it. we have to move. and we have to make it much better. it has to be a 21st-century plan. third, the commission should uphold i think the goals of section 629 and ensure a
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vibrant, competitive retail set- top box market. a successor to the current cable card regime, whether by fcc rule or more preferably a voluntary industry agreement will usher in a new generation of technologies that will give consumers greater choice and ensure that innovation flourishes. finally, i'm pleased that the commission has made the transition to next-generation 911, as well as improving the indoor location accuracy of 911 calls to key priority. later today it is my understanding the commission will vote on an order that will improve the reliability of 911 and i look forward to continued updates as the commission perceives with the implementation of nexgen 911. mr. chairman, thank you for holding this hearing. i look forward to the report testimony of chairman wheeler and each of the commissioners.
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importantly, i pledge to work with each of you to make america's communication sector the most effective and most admired in the world. and with that i yield back. >> the chairman now recognizes mr. upton from michigan, i believe. >> the great state of michigan thank you, mr. chairman. today we welcome the fully constituted fcc back to the energy and commerce committee. the last time we heard from the full commission was in july of 2012. the fcc has regulatory authority over a sector of our economy that is critical to innovation jobs, and our nation's global leadership and technology. q and a case sector is also an integral part of our daily lives, connecting us to loved ones alerting us to natural disasters, entertaining and educating us every sickle day. as a regulatory agency of these industries, the fcc has the immensely important task of
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promoting growth and competition. the hearing today will examine actions the fcc has taken since the commission last appeared and said expectations for the future. as the oversight authority for the commission, or committee works hard to ensure the fcc functions to the benefit of american consumers as well as companies. we also want to make sure this agency functions efficiently and transparently as all government agencies should. am glad to say this is not a partisan concern. the bipartisan majority on a voice vote of the full committee reported in fcc process reform bill yesterday that will help the fcc operate more openly and effectively, and we expected to be on the house floor in the not-too-distant future. the bill is needed. there are several stalled proceedings and ambiguous projects at the commission that caused concern, to me and other members of the committee. we have sent a number of letters regarding media ownership proceedings.
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vice chair has gone to the extent of drafting a bill to and the cable set top box integration ban, a bill that seems to make a lot of sense and which the fcc should have considered doing it while ago. my concern and hope is that we can start a productive dialogue today with our esteemed witnesses on these and many other important issues, pending at the commission. the mission or o'reilly, welcome back to the energy and commerce committee -- commissioner o reilly welcome back to the energy and commerce committee. chairman wheeler, though you are from ohio, known as the big house, now the dingell room, i hope that you appreciate the green and white the coredecore -- [laughter] and yes, we were for sparty. welcome back. and i yield to the other republican members. >> we now recognize mr. latter,
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from ohio. [laughter] home of the speaker of the house. [laughter] >> thank you very much for yielding, mr. chairman, and thank you very much to our commissioners for being with us today, and welcome to our newest members of the commission. really appreciate you having us here today. the communications and technology has been a consistently bright spot in economy, creating millions of american jobs, significant investment and innovation, and empowered consumers who are the driving force behind robust competition in the communications marketplace. as us-based businesses lead the world in technological advances, we have a responsibility to ensure the fcc fosters continued growth and development in the communication sector. this can be achieved by the fcc
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incorporating more transparency and accountability in its processes, operating within the bounds of the statutory authority and acting upon legislation according to congressional intent. i look forward to continuing to work with the chairman upton and members of this committee and also congressman green one my hr-130 196 which is legislation to eliminate the integration of set top boxes and allow the marketplace to get to the next generation of innovation without the regulatory area years in front of it -- the regulatory barriers in front of it. i look forward to hearing your testimony today and mr. chairman, i yield back. >> pinkie. the chair recognizes the -- thank you. the chair recognizes the vice chair. >> i want to welcome all of the commissioners and publicly commend commissioner clyburn for the wonderful work she did when she served as the acting chair. we appreciate that leadership.
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and chairman wheeler, we look forward to having you continue and work in a collaborative manner to find results for the public sector. we would hope that the commission will be proactive not get beyond its mission, but to stay focused on the core mission. pay attention to economic analysis. look at cost-benefit analysis and make certain that you don't suffer mission creep which is casting a shadow over the private sector. with that, i yield back. >> the chair recognizes mr. waxman. >> thank you very much and i want to welcome the members of the commission, chairman wheeler, and all of commissioners. i also want to join commending commissioner clyburn for the incredible job she did is acting chairwoman of the industry
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agreement on interoperability and long-overdue reforms on prison phone rates. your brief chairmanship will be remembered for the remarkable amount your comp list. -- bmr marketable amount your compass. chairman wheeler congratulations on your confirmation we are pleased to have you here. you join the fcc at a time when our country is under going dramatic and perhaps fundamental transformations in communications networks and technologies, and the decisions you make at the commission will no doubt have a lasting impact on our nation's communications landscape. at the top of the agenda is the spectrum auctions authorized by the public safety inspector auction asked last year, and i'm pleased to see the fcc is moving ahead to conduct the h block auction in january in addition to allocating new wireless spectrum to address our nation's spectrum shortage. this auction will provide
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significant down payment for the nationwide interoperable public safety network. i also support chairman wheeler the recently announced a timetable for the incentive auction. this auction has many layers of complexity, and i applaud your commitment to getting the technical issues right. congress gave the fcc the toll to at least the economic opportunities for both licensed and unlicensed spectrum, revolutionize public safety, communications ensure a vibrant and competitive wireless market, all the while protecting consumer access to free over the air television. and i think the fcc must remain faithful to these goals as you implement the law. you also must bear in mind the principles under girding the communications act as we consider the next evolution in our nation's wireless networks. our values do not change with each successor generation of technology.
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whether the infrastructure is copper or fiber optics, the commission's charge is to protect and promote the long- standing goals of competition universal access, and consumer protection. chairman upton and walden have recently called for multiyear examination of possible updates to the communications act, and i welcome the opportunity for a bipartisan consideration of these issues and i hope the commission will be a partner in this endeavor. in 2010, this committee spent many hours working to preserve the principle of an open internet. that process led to a sensible set of rules governing the broadband market that was supported by a diverse group of stakeholders and provided the foundation for the fcc's open internet order. i believe the open internet order will be upheld in the court. whatever the outcome, i will be looking to you to ensure the internet remains an open platform for innovation and economic growth.
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i want to at this point yield the balance of my time to my fellow californian and good friend. >> thank you very much, ranking member waxman, for yielding the time. it is wonderful to see the full complement of the commission today. i want to join in welcoming chairman wheeler who brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the fcc, and i would also like to congratulate commissioner o'reilly. and i would also like to commend commissioner clyburn for her leadership during the interim period. think you very much. mr. chairman the subcommittee is working diligently to find bipartisan solutions for smart and sound spectrum policy for nation. we are to create a path for dod to develop the 7080 megahertz band. ud and broadcasters should be applauded for the landmark sharing agreement.
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moreover, i joined with representative guthrie for the incentive act which passed yesterday in a bipartisan manner. the bill is the first of its kind that offers a fresh approach that would create a federal spectrum incentive auction. i look forward to working closely with my colleagues and administration in moving this bill to the floor. there are tough decisions ahead and i want to encourage the fcc to move forward with the usf reform efforts, modernizing the usf for broadband, particularly the lifeline program to provide a path for universal broadband adoption in this country. and with that i yield back the balance of my time. >> all the time is been consumed and we will now go to our witnesses. again, thank you very much for being here today and the public service work you are all undertaking. for wheeler, as the chairman of the sec, we lead off with you. hold the microphone close, and you are good to go.
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>> thank you very much, chairman walden, ranking member eshoo and members of the subcommittee, i appreciate this opportunity to testify before you today concerning the oversight of the federal communications commission. all of us are honored to be working with equality men and women. today is my 39th day on the job and i've enjoyed the informal discussion i have been able to have with many of you in the interim, and look forward to today having the even more complete discussions and working with you afterwards. as i think everybody has indicated, we are in a very exciting time, in the midst of a great network revolution. the lesson of history is that revolutions like that come chock
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full of challenges. and we will have to work together on how we address those challenges. we have tended to look at this -- we look to make sure first of all that what policies we adopt promote economic growth and maintain national leadership. clearly at the root of those are issues such as competition and maintaining the necessary assets such as spectrum. the second prism is what we have begun to call the network compact. there has for a century developed a set of values that represent the relationship between those who operate networks and those who use networks. those values must be preserved
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regardless of the type of technology used in the network. and thirdly is the goal that networks work for everyone. that it is not what broadband -- it is not just the delivery of broadband but what broadband enables. that is what is important. if we don't have 21st century education capabilities, if we don't make sure that americans with disabilities have access to the capabilities of the new technology network, if we don't make sure that tribal americans have opportunities to use the networks, then we have failed in our goal. so those three things -- economic growth, the network compact, and what networks and able, the three pillars of policy. but at the heart of them as competition.
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it has become a joke, at least in my office, i keep saying competition, competition competition, but that is very much what we believe. let me do a quick look at the three areas where the commission is keeping pace with that innovative economy. first is process reform. the committee's bipartisan effort yesterday is significant and noted and appreciated. on my second day, mr. chairman, i began the process that will produce a report in 60 days looking at how to enhance accountability through deadlines and tracking systems, how to expedite the licensing process like you referenced, how to shorten the processing time of applications for review, and the commissioner has an interesting idea. how to streamline consumer complaint collection and a searchable database, and how to attack the backlog, as commissioner clyburn did when she was chairwoman.
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we also want to weed out outdated items and incorporate performance measures. the second focus will be the spectrum auctions, especially the incentive auction. this committee, working with and tia and dod, has great leadership on the 1755-1780 band, and we look forward to moving back to auction. the guthrie-matsui bill which has been referenced takes the incentive auction idea and applies it to federal agencies and that is a great step forward. and speaking of incentives, he the incentive auction coming up. we have established a schedule now with policy recommendations in january. we will have consideration and discussion of that until spring, when we make a decision, and then we have the auction in the middle of 2015. but while discussing spectrum and regulatory process, i would be remiss if i do not bring up
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an item we will be considering today, a proposal to ask for comments on a rule to reflect the realities of new onboard aircraft technology. there have been lots of misconceptions about that. let me see if we can address these up front. one, we are proposing to consider to continue the ban on mobile devices that can interfere with terrestrial networks. but where there were is new onboard technology that eliminates that potential for interference, and there is no need for an interference rule. this is the responsible thing to do, with a rationale for a rule does not exist, the rule should not exist. we are the expert technical agency, and new technology removes the technical justification of this rule. in that regard, i should imagine i have spoken with the transportation secretary fox this morning, and he has told me
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that, yes, the fcc is the technical agency and that the department of transportation is the they will be moving on a rule to address voice calls on airplanes. i am the last person in the world who wants to listen to someone talking to me while i fly across the country, but we are the technical agency and we will make the technical rules that reflect the way the new technology works. finally, item three. we have all talked about the ip transitions because there is not just one transition. it is a multifaceted process. in today's meeting we will hear a report from the task force which will lay out a schedule including a plan for a january order that will invite experiments in the field, real-


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